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Tuesday September 26th, 2023

1,000+ unions to go on strike in Sri Lanka on April 28 demanding govt resignation

ECONOMYNEXT – Over 1,000 trade unions in Sri Lanka across multiple sectors have planned a massive island-wide one-day token strike for Thursday (28) in support of the ongoing wave of protests against the government, a spokesman for a union alliance said.

Convenor of the collective of unions Ravi Kumudesh told reporters that the campaign aims to pressure the government to resign.

Unions representing ports, railway, petroleum, health, banking and education sectors will take part in the strike, he said.

Protests have erupted islandwide against the government and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over what has become Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis since independence. A daily protest organised and attended by people with no political party affiliation is being held in front of the presidential secretariat in Colombo for the 19th day running.

Protestors around the country demand that both the president and prime minister resign.

“The general public is protesting asking the government to go home,” said Kumudesh.

“President Rajapksa, due to his incompetence, ego and ignorance, has dragged the citizens of this country into a hole they’re struggling to get out of,” he said.

Over 1,000 unions will join the token strike planned for tomorrow to extend support to public protests, said Kumudesh.

“So far, no union has gone against the ongoing protests. On Thursday, all the worker forces in this country will protest against the government. We will raise black flags and all essential services will be carried out dressed in black,” he said.

“We ask the government to not to escalate this union strike to a continuous protest and leave for good,” he added.

Kumudesh said the organisation plans to expand the protest into a hartal – an Indian word for a total shutdown of workplaces – on May 06 if the government does not listen to the public demand and step down.

Teachers Union Secretary Joseph Stalin told EconomyNext on Wednesday that teachers a government at schools will not report for duty on the day of the strike.

“However, the decision to go for a hartal is not yet finalised. The committee will decide it in the coming days,” he said.

Administrator of the Ceylon Bank Employees Association Rohan Wijesundara, meanwhile, said employees of around 18 private and state sector banks will participate in the token strike on Thursday. However, banks have been informed to take measures to continue operations with available staff, he told EconomyNext.

“We have informed all members of the union representing all 18 state and private sector banks that we are participating in tomorrow’s strike,” he said.

“The managements of these banks have asked the employees to participate in the strike in a way that will not affect the banks’ day-to-day activities. Managing duties for the day is up to the management of those banks,” he added.  (Colombo/Apr27/2022)

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Sri Lanka cabinet okays appropriation bill for 2024 budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a draft Appropriation Act for 2024, the state information office said.

The Finance Minister’s proposal to gazette the bill and table it in parliament was approved by the cabinet.

Presenting the appropriation bill is the first stage of presenting a budget for 2024,

The appropriation bills set outs the expenditure plans for each ministry.

The budget proposals, made in November is called the second reading of the Appropriation Act. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s MEPA to get 28.5 mn rupees from Singaporean AEPW, for beach clean up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to receive 5.7 million rupees a year, for five years, from Singapore-based marine waste solutions provider, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), to maintain 8 beach cleaner machines.

The donation is meant to support MEPA clean coastal areas across Sri Lanka, using BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaner machines, previously donated by the organisation.

The oil industry-founded non-governmental organisation donated the 8 beach cleaners worth about US$180,000 to MEPA in the wake of the 2021 MV X-press Pearl ship disaster.

The machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a German company, are effective at cleaning up plastic nurdles and other types of potentially harmful non-biodegradable waste, minimising human contact with hazardous materials.

As a significant amount of money is spent for the deployment of these machines for beach cleaning activities, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has agreed to provide the funds for the upkeep of the machines for a period of five years.

With this financial donation, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority will be able to continue using these machines without interruption to clean identified beaches in the future. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s SEC makes four new appointments

ECONOMYNEXT – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) made four new additions from diverse backgrounds to its leadership.

These appointments are expected to increase the effectiveness of the SEC secretariat in the respective operating areas, the SEC said.

Manuri Weerasinghe, with over 20 years of experience in accounting, financial management, financial reporting and auditing, was appointed Director, Corporate Affairs.

She is a Fellow Member of CA Sri Lanka, member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a member of the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia.

Her academic credentials include a Master of Business Administration and a BSc (Hons) in Accountancy and Financial Management (Special).

Prior to joining the SEC, she served in several financial management positions in Bermuda and Sweden.

Madura P R Wanigasekara was appointed Chief Digital Officer. He has over 20 years delivering and managing IT solutions, and has held several senior management positions in the public and private sectors.

His academic qualifications include a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Colombo and a Bachelor of Information Technology from the Curtin University of Technology.

He is also a member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Sharmila Panditaratne was appointed Assistant Director, Legal and Enforcement.

She is an Attorney-at-Law with over 21 years of experience as a securities market regulator.

She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Houston, Texas and has worked at two law firms in the USA prior to joining the SEC.

Riyaz Bary, Deputy Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department was appointed a Director on secondment basis. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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